In 2007 when the presidential campaign came down to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama- for everyone at the time knew that John McCain would not be elected under any circumstances- Obama made some of the best speeches in American political history. George W. Bush had been one of the worst presidents, if not the worst president, ever to take office. During his eight-year tenure, he had supervised a country which had allowed an attack upon its soil for the first time in decades, a country that illegally detained and tortured terror suspects, a country whose currency appeared less than stable than it had years past. In came Obama, the knight in shining white armor, ready to rescue the country from the calumnies of Republican mismanagement.

Thus, I cast my vote in 2008 for Barack Obama, feeling that by doing so, I would help America back on to a better course. Little did I know about Richard Nixon taking the dollar of the gold standard, or of the criminality of the Reagan administration, or the dangers of statism that pervaded the American political scene, even in the 1990’s. Naturally, if one man would be capable of restraining the entire government from being the destructive organism that it’s always been, it logically follows that his successor would have enough power to encourage every wicked action the government might take. If the president did not have enough power to restrain the government, what then would be the point in voting for him? The only incentive voters have to vote for any politician is based upon the understanding that such a politician will use his power for good. This naturally implies that he must have discretionary powers of such a nature that will allow him to act for the common good.

In 2008, I understood none of this. My vote simply went to the person I thought was the best candidate.

A few years had to pass before I fully understood the dangers of the state. On December 31st, 2011, the national defense authorization act appeared on Obama’s desk. The act is yearly budget plan for the military. It specifies what money will go where, with a bunch of micro-managing thrown in to confuse everyone. Ordinarily, only the lawyers whose job it is to read such long documents understand the full implications of the document. Except, in this particular instance, the socialist Occupy movement, which at the end of 2011 was on the decline, fully understood the import of the bill. Suddenly, the government took it upon itself to codify into law what it had always done as a matter of course: it could now legally detain and hold anyone for any reason it chose. All that was needed was a suspicion of being associated with any terrorist force anywhere in the world. The rub was exactly this: the government decided by itself who was a terrorist and who wasn’t. It could stick that label on anyone it chose, for whatever reason it pleased. The 2011 NDAA provided a legal framework for mass arrests and mass executions, so long as the people being arrested and executed could be declared as terrorists.

I followed the story of the NDAA with great interest through December of 2011. This was Obama’s defining moment. Perhaps he had given in to political expediency at times. Perhaps he had been an imperfect man for the first three years of his presidency. This was not outside the realm of expectation. He was, and is, an imperfect human being. To expect perfect governance for an imperfect man is to engage in fantasy. But here, with the NDAA on his desk, he had a chance to emphatically say no to the same methods that FDR had used against Japanese American citizens during World War II, and which had been used by Joseph McCarthy camp during the so-called “red scare.” He had a chance to say, you know what, we don’t always do everything right, but this one time I’m going to stand on principle. He had a chance to say that locking people up without due process was not okay.

He signed the bill.

When his pen scratched out his signature on that piece of paper, the scales fell away from my eyes. Though I knew that politicians lied as easy as they drank water, I had never yet seen one person act with deliberate malice against people who had never harmed him. I had never seen a leader so full of cowardice that he wished to take a pre-emptive strike against unknown future dangers. Such a leader, as I saw it, had his proper place in the history books of Soviet Russia and the Roman Empire. No leader could ever arise like that in America- especially not one who had professed to be on the side of justice and liberty. Yet, one did.

It was this moment that I turned my back on government completely. Though I didn’t yet know what the answer could be, I knew that it would never be found in government circles, not when three successive presidents starting from 1992 had been a philanderer, a nincompoop, and a hypocrite. The next president, whomever he or she might be, would be no better. Indeed, the summer of 2012 proved that change would never be found within anything governmental. The Republican National Committee, instead of capitalizing on Obama’s betrayal of the Constitution by selecting a Ron Paul, instead changed their rules at the eleventh hour- a week before they set to meet- to exclude Paul from the process. Instead, Mitt Romney paraded a confused Clint Eastwood around the stage. Eastwood proceeded to talk to a chair, which was the nail in the coffin for Romney’s candidacy. The Democrat hypocrite would serve another four years. The remaining months of the election campaign were all meaningless after the RNC of that summer.

The man that I had believed in, the man I had voted for, had suddenly turned his back on the country. The party of opposition had declined to make good on the libertarian ideals they attempted to espouse. There was really only one party in America: the state. Whether the candidate was Democrat or Republican, he was for the state. No one was for the individual. Neither of the final two candidates in the campaign were for liberty.

The only solution was to turn my back upon the whole process completely. Thus, I became by turns an independent, a libertarian, and then an anarchist. December of 2011 and the 2012 RNC together convinced me that there was no point in voting for any candidate at all.

My belief has since been confirmed when, in the 2014 election, Democrat Tom Wolf opposed Republican Tom Corbett for the governor of Pennsylvania. Various people in the state wanted to vote for Wolf because he would bring “change” to the state. Corbett had been a bad governor in all the ways that Republicans are typically bad. Three months into his term as governor, Wolf is already talking about raising taxes in an already cash-strapped state where people are lucky to survive on a week-to-week paycheck, where the state’s capital of Harrisburg is overloaded with individuals who are surviving as best they can on welfare. A combination of regulation and taxation have driven all the businesses out of the city.

No one in government, either at the state or federal level, is talking about reducing the size of the government, or of spending what money it has wisely. The only sane choice a person can make is to reject an insane system. Thus, I am an anarchist. I write this proudly, with full knowledge of what it means. I write this with the understanding that I am one of the very few happy people in the history of the world who understands the harm that authority can cause when given too much power.

I am in favor of freedom and individual choice. Politicians like Barack Obama, however many good speeches they may make, can never- and never shall- permit the individual to choose for himself what life he wishes to live. The only way to have true personal freedom is to reject the false system of positive change through legislation. Never again will I vote for a man who seeks high office by saying the right things. This illusion has already proven fallacious; there is no need to engage with it again.